Friday, June 22, 2012

DIY no dye tie dye

I imagine that nearly everyone has tried tie-dying at some point in their life.  It's fun and low-tech and has a cool mysterious element.  I mean, isn't it exciting when you undo all the rubber bands and finally get to see the finished product?   There are many ways to tie-dye and I've tried most of them.  For most methods a sink, washing machine, and dryer are standard pre-requisitions.  But I found a way around all those requirements.  In fact, I can tie-dye without dye.  I've been doing it for over 15 years.  Intrigued?  I hope so!

My family gets together every summer.  To add an extra element of fun to the family reunion, this year we had a theme: The 70s!!!  I know, fun right?  It was a blast!  What comes to mind when you think about the 1970s?  Disco?  Mod?  Bell-bottom pants?  Tube socks? Half shirts on men?  Short shorts?  Leisure suits?  Wedge high heels?  Newsboy hats?  Sock it to me?  Fringed vests?  Headbands?  Chokers?  Well, nearly every single one of those elements were seen at my family reunion.  My contribution: tie-dye t-shirts for all the kids!  Maybe tie-dying is a bit more 60s in your mind, but I looked it up and those hippies were tie-dying well into the 1970s.  (psst!  I was born in 1977 so I don't recall too much tie-dying...)

Anywhoo, here's what you need to use the Ricochet Method of Tie-Dye:
Everything but the paint can found at your local dollar store.
  1. T-shirts.  For most dyes, you would need 100% cotton for best results, but any fabric will work for this method.  I got all my white t-shirts from the dollar stores.  I even got some grey t-shirts and they worked as well.
  2. Water.  A bucket will do.  No sinks required.  I used a horse trough.  ;-)
  3. Rubber bands.  I got 2 bags of assorted rubber bands from the dollar store and had way more than I needed to tie up 28 t-shirts and several pairs of tube socks.
  4. Spray bottles.  I got mine from the dollar store as well.  This item is actually optional because you could really just pour the color onto the t-shirts or use paint brushes.  The spray bottles are good for kids though.  
  5. Acrylic paint.  Not tempura, oils, or watercolors.  I used Apple Barrel brand acrylic craft paints.  They are very inexpensive and come in virtually every color.  
There are lots of ways to tie up your t-shirts to prep them for color.  I like the following method because it creates lots of wrinkles to catch and resist the color, it's faster than creating the concentric-bulls-eye with rubber bands, and the front and back match.  You could also create lots of stripey wrinkles by simply using an accordion fold, but here's how I do it to create a traditional spiral design:
  1. I like to start with a damp t-shirt.
  2. Pinch the middle of the shirt, grabbing all the layers of fabric and start twisting.
  3. Take some time to define the arms of the spiral pattern you are creating.  Just pinch the folds to form lots of deep wrinkles.  
  4. See how it is coming together?
  5. At any point you can add a rubber band to help secure what you've already twisted up.
  6. Keep adding rubber bands and twisting and making wrinkles.
  7. Here's what mine look like after they're all tied up.
  8. Here's the backside.  
  1. Take your acrylic paint and water it down.  There is no perfect ratio of paint to water, sorry.  If you use too much paint, the shirt will be sort of stiff when it dries but your colors will be intense.  Too much water and your colors will be pastel-like.  Experimentation is encouraged!
  2. Put your watered down paint into a spray bottle and saturate your t-shirt with color.
  3. I kinda squish my shirts inside a plastic bag.  In my mind this squeezes more paint into all the wrinkles, but I'm not convinced this step is necessary.
  4. Now that all the paint has been applied, let your shirt sit out in the sun for while to dry.  You don't need to wait for the shirt to dry completely.  You could unwrap it right away, but you'll get your fingers super painty and risk transferring that paint to areas of your shirt that you don't want to get paint.  
  5. Here's what mine looked like after removing the rubber bands.
  6. Then I started to untwist it.
  7. Cool!  Here's the front.
  8. Here's the back.
As soon as the shirt is COMPLETELY dry, you can wear it.  The beauty of acrylic paint is that it is completely non-soluble in water after it dries.  Because I started with a wet shirt, the paint will bleed and continue bleeding into the wet fabric until completely dry.  I can't prove it, but I think if I would have let the shirt dry completely before removing the rubber bands, there would have been less bleeding and a more defined design.  But who wants to wait that long?  Not my 5 year old daughter!  The photo above shows my daughter wearing her dry shirt.  The pic below shows the same shirt after several machine washings.

Here's how we tie-dyed at my family reunion:
  1. I twisted and tied up all the dollar store t-shirts ahead of time.  I prefer to start with a wet shirt and apply the paint right away, but this method worked out OK too.  We just dunked the tied up shirts in a bucket of water and wrung them out as we needed them.  I even used some grey shirts and they turned out Ok as well.  
  2. Here you can see my dollar store spray bottles filled with diluted craft paint.  I had the kids help me add a few squirts of paint to each bottle, add some water, and shake it up to mix.  The tablecloth: a dollar store shower curtain!
  3. Some of our finished t-shirts drying in the sun.  My daughter did the one on the left, my son the center, and you can see the shirt on the right in photo #7.
  4. When my little cousin was spraying the paint on this shirt, I was thinking, "Oh you better stop her or there will be no white left on this shirt."  I just let her spray away though.  Turns out I was wrong.  Her shirt was one of the coolest we saw that day.
  5. Tube socks were fun to tie-dye as well.  The great thing about using acrylic paint is that the socks don't have to be 100% cotton to hold a rich color.
  6. Cute!  As soon as the shirts were completely dry, the kids wore them.  
  7. I like the look of just one color.
  8. Here's where I got the water for this project.  Our redneck swimming pool:  the horse trough!  

Because I am a list-maker, here are some things to keep in mind about tie-dying with acrylic paint:

  • As long as it is not dry, acrylic paint is water soluble.  But once it's dry, it basically turns into a plastic-like substance that will not be diluted with water.  You can look online for ways to remove acrylic paint that has been dried.  I used rubbing alcohol to get wall paint off my hardwood floors.
  • If the paint dries on you skin, it will rub/scratch off under water.  It's harder to remove the paint from under your nails and around your cuticles, but it won't stain your skin.  
  • If your finished, dried t-shirt is super stiff, don't freak out until you've put it through the washer and used some fabric softener.  The combination of the paint and hard water can make the shirt pretty stiff.  If your shirt is still pretty stiff after washing, then you know you didn't water down your paint enough.  
  • If you were to use a more expensive brand of acrylic paint, something like Golden that comes in tubes, your paint will have more bang for the buck.  Fine quality acrylic paint has a high pigment content compared to "craft paints".  I didn't have a blue Apple Barrel craft paint, so I used my Golden brand phthalo blue.  The result was a bright and beautiful blue.  
  • One really cool thing about this method is that you can utilize white paint on dark colored fabric.  Think about it.  :-)
Have you ever tie-dyed?  How did it turn out?  Would you be willing to try out this method?

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,

Monday, June 11, 2012

2-in-1 Sewing Challenge Homepage

I have been racking my brain for something new and exciting for July's challenge.  I tried to come up with a theme that would intrigue some of you problem solvers out there.  Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to sew something that can be worn or utilized in multiple ways.  There are many ways to approach this challenge, and I hope you'll be inspired to be innovative and inventive.  

  1. The theme of this challenge is to sew something (garment, home decor, accessory, etc.) that can be transformed into a new look or a new item.  Examples would be anything reversible, tops that transform into skirts, totes that turn into back packs, blankets that fold into pillows, etc.
  2. This is a sewing challenge so machine or hand sewing is required in your entry.
  3. You must make something new especially for this challenge.
  4. By signing up you give me (Rikka, your hostess) permission to re-post photos from your blog.  I may sometimes crop or edit those photos or put them in a collage.
  5. It's not mandatory, but please take a few minutes to get know your fellow participants.  Check out their blogs, facebook pages, pinterest boards, etc.  We're all in this together so let's show some support!

  •  Sign up and submit your entry by July 31, 2012.
  • Voting with take place throughout August, 2012.
  • Winners will be announced in the beginning of September, 2012.

  1. Fill out the easy sign-up form so your profile can be displayed at the bottom of this post.
  2. Accept an email invitation to the challenge's Google discussion group.
  3. Become a contributor to the challenge pinterest board.
  4. Promote the challenge through your blog/twitter/facebook etc.
  5. Finish your challenge entry by the deadline.
  6. Make a blog post (I can make one for you if you're not a blogger) about your entry.
  7. Vote once a day for your favorite entry.
  8. The entries with the most votes receive bragging rights and fancy buttons.

2-in-1 Challenge Homepage

2-in-1 Challenge Homepage

 I've started a new Pinterest Board for this challenge.  I'd love to add all the participants as contributors to this board.  It's a quick and easy way to share both images and links and inspiration.  Here some of the boards from previous challenges:

  • Garment Sewing Challenge
  • Solids-Only Tote Challenge
  • Naughty Notions Challenge
  • Typography Challenge

  • My Photo
    Kadie from Texas
    I'm a crafting mamma to 5 fantastic kiddos.  I am looking forward to this new challenge as I enjoyed the last one so much!
    Cameron from Illinois
    I am hoping to create something both amazing and awesome for this dual-purpose challenge!
    Pam from Australia
    I've just retired after 30+ years of Teaching, so for the first time in my life, I can wake up each day and decide how I will spend all the free time that I have. Amazingly, I wonder how I had time to fit in work. The majority of my spare time is spent sewing, blogging about sewing, or outside in my garden.
    Lakshmi from India
    SAHM, Freelance designer, Sewing Maniac!
    Diya from India

    Lover of anything that is DIY. Enthusiastic about sewing , my new hobby venture.
    Also excited to be a part of this sewing challenge..its time to put the creative side of my brain thinking;)
    Gia from Greece
    This challenge is one of particular interest to me.  I love reversible anything really and delight in the little details and hidden surprises that can be found on close inspection.
    Katie from Minnesota
    I am fine tuning my skills as an artist and exploring whatever I can get my hands on.  I live in a cozy home with my boyfriend and two dogs. 
    June from Iowa 
    (now Oregon!)
    ABOUT JUNE....coming soon....
    Lorena from Argentina
    (I'm Pregnant! <3)
    Soy mamá de una niña y un niño.  Me encanta coser, así que espero crear algo original pare este desafío.
    Kat from Oregon
    I love a good challenge almost as much as I love color!  Always on the quest for the original, I'm driven by the smiles and twirls of girls when they wear something I made. And I always like to make fun clothes to wear.

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    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    DIY Quilted Tote Bags

    In appreciation for all their hard work, I made tote bags for my kids' teachers.  I was proud of how they turned out and wanted to share with you how I made them.
    While looking rather detailed,
    these tote bags are very simple in design.

    There are:
    • no pockets, 
    • no zippers, 
    • no adjustable straps, 
    • no clasps or buttons, 
    • and no lining!
    Sewing techniques I used:
    • Log cabin style patchwork,
    • basic applique,
    • free motion quilting,
    • and applying bias tape.
    Supplies I used:
    • Fabric,
    • batting or fleece,
    • bias tape,
    • free motion quilting foot,
    • and basic sewing supplies.  
    The totes are made from 2 rectangular panels that comprise the front and back.  Each panel is like a mini quilt consisting of a layer of batting sandwiched between a top and backing:
    The dimension of the panels is up to you.  I made mine around 18"X20".  The finished tote was a few inches thinner an shorter because I added a bottom.  When you add a bottom to a tote it's like putting on 3D glasses.  All the sudden your tote has depth, literally!  :-)

    I spent the most time creating the top layers (green in the graphics).  You'll need a 2 top layers for your tote. These will make up the outside of the bag, front and back.  My totes have definite fronts and backs, utilizing patchwork on one and large appliqued petals on the other.  

    You'll need 2 pieces of backing fabric (blue in the graphics) and 2 pieces of batting (gold in the graphics).

    Sandwich the batting between the wrong sides of top and backing fabrics.  Line up the edges and pin or baste through all the layers.  Then you start quilting: 
    Here's some picks of the quilting on my totes.  Click on the pics to see them enlarged:

    Square up the quilted panels and trim to the same size.  Finish the top edges of each panel with bias tape.  I made my own bias tape for the black tote and used ready made tape for the brownish one.   After the top edges are finished, match up the panels front sides together and sew around the sides and bottom to form a pouch:

    Next, finish the remaining edges with bias tape.  To make the bottom you'll need to match up one side seam with the bottom seam.  Then you have to cut off the corner, stitch it closed, and finish it with bias tape:

    How much corner do you cut off?  Take a look at the photos below.  The "As" show you where the corners were cut off in correlation to the bottom seam "B".  If you cut off a large amount of corner like in the left pic, you get an almost square shaped bottom and the overall tote shape is kind of like a trash can (but prettier!).  If you cut off less corner like in the right pic, you get a thin rectangular bottom and an overall cereal boxy shape.  There are pros and cons to each shape.  The trash can shape stands very well on it's own--perfect for loading up with groceries.  The cereal box shape is more traditional and lays flat against your side when you carry it--perfect for books and files.  

    The final step is to construct and add handles:

    I like how fast the tote comes together once you finish the quilting.  I love how the sides are stiff enough to allow the bag to stand on its own, yet soft enough that you can roll it up and stuff it into a drawer.  I love not having to mess with a separate lining.  The downfalls are that adding inside pockets is challenging unless you don't mind the stitching showing through to the outside.  Adding pockets to the outside is much easier.
    So what do you think?  Easy enough?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,

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    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Vote for your favorite garment!

    To begin, let me say that this was a difficult challenge for me in many ways.
    • Firstly, this is the first challenge I've hosted by myself.  My partner in crime, Keren from, was not able to help me out this time around.  We all missed you, Keren!  
    • Secondly, we have a Kate, Katie, Kadie, and KT in this challenge!!!!  Enough said.  
    • Thirdly, it went by way too fast!  Time flies when you're having fun, right?
    Highlights of this challenge?
    • I met over dozen new people!  Very cool and talented and fun people.  It has been a pleasure getting know each and every one of you.  
    • I made some garments that I would actually wear from fabrics from my stash!  Yay!  
    • I learned a new sewing technique: shirring.  It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.  
    Here is a recap of the challenge guidelines:
    • The theme of this challenge is to sew any garment that YOU will be proud enough to wear in public. 
    • This is a sewing challenge so machine or hand sewing is a required element in your entry.
    • You must make a new garment for this challenge.  
    • Upcycling and refashioning of existing garments is acceptable and long as you follow the second guideline.
    • Don't confuse garments with accessories like hats, scarves, belts, etc.
    • You must try something new when creating your garment. 
    Something new I'm trying for this challenge is to allow you to vote for 3 entries per day.  The order of the entries in the poll is randomized so don't tell your friends to votes for the "third entry".  Be sure to scroll down below this poll and you'll find links to all the entries.

    1. Adele refashioned an XL t-shirt into a cute halter top.  I agree with her assessment of the garment, "it's mint"!!!!  Visit Adele's blog and learn more about her refashion HERE.
    2. Katie made this cute tank in a flattering shade of blue/teal.  She altered the pattern and added another layer make it a bit longer.  The result is a perfectly finished top with a flirty flair.  Visit Katie's blog and learn about how she met her challenge HERE.
    3. June is rocking this pretty frock!  She made this dress with a fun summer print in my favorite color--green!  It looks great with belt and boots, but I imagine it looks good beltless and paired with sandals as well.  Visit June's recently revamped blog and read about her dress HERE.
    4. Lee made a few "practice" dresses that I thought were super cute before she came up with this very pretty outfit.  She paired a lovely floral top with a pleated teal skirt.  Visit Lee's blog and learn about fashion journey HERE.
    5. Kristin made her first ever garment!  Congrats on making something lovely for yourself!  Visit Kristin's blog and learn more about her top HERE.
    6. Kate made this lovely lined chiffon skirt in an hour!  It's even lined!  Visit Kate's blog and read about her entry HERE.
    7. Donatella created a wonderful wrap dress and versatile scarf out of a fabulous silk floral.  She looks great in it with her cool pink heels.  Visit Donatella's blog and see how she designed her entry HERE.
    8. Lucija has made a lovely skirt.  I bet it flows beautifully as she walks.  Visit Lucija's blog and learn more about her skirt HERE.
    9. Mah Lub created this stylish green pencil skirt with a poplin detail.  She really took the "wear it in public" part of the challenge to heart and actually wore it on television!  Learn about her cool skirt HERE.
    10. Kei's shirred top was inspired by a top she has hanging in her closet.  She drafted the pattern herself--no easy feat!  She learned the proper way to apply shirring and the result is lovely and really suit her.  Visit Kei's blog and learn about how she constructed her top HERE.
    11. KT was inspired by dress she tried on at Target.  She came up with this cute polka dotted dress and wore it to her college graduation.  Congrats on the dress and degree!  Visit Kt's blog and read about her submission HERE.
    12. Melody really got into the spirit of this challenge and made a whole outfit.  It's nearly winter where she lives so she made a cozy tunic dress and paired it with sexy lace leggings.  Visit Melody's new blog and learn about her submission HERE.
    13. Lana was a last minute entry to our challenge, but we're so pleased she shared her precious Mad Men-inspired dress.  The cutout is very sweet, isn't it?  Visit Lana's blog and read about how she made this dress HERE.
    14. Steph took on a whopper of a challenge and ended up with a great new swimsuit.  She had to remake the bottoms a few times--but the resulting finish is superb.  What determination!  Visit Stephanie's blog and learn about her entry HERE.
    15. Rikka (that's me!) tried shirring for the first time.  You can read about my dress HERE.
    16. Lakshmi made this classy BurdaStyle coat from cotton and lined it in velvet!  The buttons are wood painted silver--clever girl!!!  Visit Lakshmi's blog and read about her challenge submission HERE.
    17. Melanie looks terrific in this maxi dress.  It really suits her, doesn't it?  She worked with knits--always a challenge--and finished with style!  Visit Melanie's blog learn about her garment HERE.
    18. Mia Jonique didn't have much experience sewing, but that didn't stop her from entering a garment sewing challenge.  She refashion a t-shirt into a nice summer top with a pretty butterfly detail.  Visit Mia Jonique's blog and learn about sewing adventure HERE.
    19. Kadie confessed early on that she cut her fabric wrong.  We all have been there--it's so frustrating!  But our Kadie didn't give up, she worked with what she had and finished with style!  You'd never know any mistake was made looking at her finished dress.  Visit Kadie's blog and learn about her dress HERE.
    20. Pam has made herself a cool pair of zumba pants.  She's an accomplished seamstress so I imagine it took her a while to find something "new" to challenge herself with .  Visit's Pam's blog and learn about her challenge submission HERE.
    Please grab a button and share this page with your friends:
    Pick your top 3 entries!

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